On a recent trip to Italy, while touring the baths in the preserved city of Pompeii, a woman in my group looked up at a graphical depiction of a boy swimming with a dolphin and declared that the ancient Romans must have loved animals. I conceded that they most likely regarded animals with awe, while reminding her of the grueling chariot races in the Circus Maximus, the gruesome fabricated “hunts” in the Roman Forum, and the egregious animal slaughter that took place in the Colosseum – all for the sake of human enjoyment.
The ancient Romans were, like us, a diverse and complicated people. They were resourceful, intelligent, and innovative. They were also violent, ignorant, and opportunistic. In all these ways – both good and bad – we are the same.
The Colosseum in Rome is a testament to this. Awe-inspiring though it was to stand inside this architectural feat and to contemplate the ingenuity, hubris, and labor that went into its design and construction, it was equally disquieting. Imagining the amount of blood shed, bodies strewn, and lives wasted over the centuries...more
When I was a child, I acted compassionately towards animals without any thought – as if I didn’t know any better than to respond to those who needed my help. As an adult, I act compassionately WITH thought and believe that the informed kindness of an adult is even more profound than the innocent kindness of a child.more
Because I shamelessly post countless photos of my beloved cats, many of which depict them outside with me, I'm often asked how I'm able to let them experience the outdoors in a way that's safe for them and for wildlife. In today's episode, I share my experience and emphasize that it's a custom decision based on situation, location, and individual cat.more
I'm very proud to be a contributor to my National Public Radio station, KQED. In this 2-minute radio commentary, I explain why when I encounter a stray animal, I can't help but help. And, so I'm always prepared.
What do you do when you encounter an animal in need? How are you prepared? How can you be more prepared? Share your story!more
"I CAUGHT A VEGAN BEING IMPERFECT" COMMENT OF THE DAY
A gentleman on the KQED website in response to my latest radio editorial/Perspective called Meat, Milk, and Butter for Vegans. He wrote, "Agriculture has in fact a greater brutality to the life sustaining life forms under the soil. In fact, tilling for agriculture causes a great deal of horrific and unnatural environments. Unless of course you only consume "no-till" vegan diet, I question the non-cruelty aspect to only mammals, fish and poultry."
MY RESPONSE: The problem is that you are operating under the false premise that being vegan is about being perfect or pure, that it's an end in itself rather than a MEANS to an end. Sadly, I think some vegans and activists have perpetuated this misconception. For me, being vegan is a means to preventing violence against animals where we have the power to do so. And though it's an imperfect world and I'm an imperfect person, there is so much we can do to achieve this end. Just because we can't...more
(Originally published as an op-ed in The Oakland Tribune / Contra Costa Times.)
Via the newly signed Farm Bill, the Obama administration is offering $100 million to bail out the livestock industry.
California residents are told to turn the tap off when brushing our teeth, foraging animals are having trouble finding food, and some communities may run out of water altogether.
But the livestock industry -- which brings animals into the world only to kill them -- will go on.
This despite the fact that a single cow can drink up to 23 gallons of water daily and that it takes 1,600 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, compared with 100 gallons for a pound of wheat.
This despite the fact that millions of additional gallons of water are used to irrigate...more
The new edition of The 30-Day Vegan Challenge has 40 brand-new recipes - and countless menu suggestions and meal ideas. Admittedly, for me, the recipe-testing process is my least favorite aspect of writing books (that have recipes). I love developing recipes and choosing the ones that are best for the context in which they will appear, but wordsmithing the recipes, sending them to testers, making changes based on feedback, editing the recipes so the instructions are absolutely clear is an incredibly time-consuming process.
The problem is...I can't put anything out into the world until I know it's as perfect as can be. And so...some recipes are more work than others.
I'm at the end of the recipe-testing for 30-Day, though I still have some work to do - a few more recipes to perfect and a few more that are still out to testers. The Edamame Hummus has gone through many iterations, and I think it's fantastic at this point (if I do say so myself). It's fresh and light - and gorgeous in color - and it can be served just as traditional chickpea hummus would be. My favorite...more
Public awareness is growing about the relationship between the production of palm oil and the loss of rainforests. And that's a good thing (though much work needs to be done between the relationship between the production of animal-based MEAT and the destruction of rainforests). Grown in tropical regions, palm plantations are displacing rainforests, destroying orangutan habitats and wreaking havoc on the ecosystem.
With good intentions, some activists have called for a boycott of Earth Balance, a vegan butter that uses palm oil as its primary fat, even though it doesn't source its palm from native orangutan habitats. Is it possible to source palm oil sustainably? For that matter, is it possible to source any historically unsustainable crop in a sustainable way?
In today's episode of...more